Beginning a Dialogue on “Faith is Based on Knowledge”

My friend Jason and I were discussing the question “what is faith?”  In response, Jason sent me this article by  Andrew Wommack entitle “Faith is Based in Knowledge.”  to ponder.  Here follows my response, which is more so simply the beginning of dialogue about the article.  We simply need to define a few terms before we can begin.  Note: having read Andrew Wommacks article is a prerequisite for understand the below questions.


Dear Jason.

Thanks for sharing article.  I’ve read and re-read it several times and have tried to come up with with a response or some rebuttals and further  questions, but I’m having a little trouble and I was hoping you could help me out.

You see my problem is that I can’t quite figure out the exact message of this article.  I mean, I think I can re-iterate the message in words, but I’m not exactly sure what to do with it, I’m not sure how it applies to my life.  The author uses a lot of phrases which I assume I am simply just unfamiliar with the definitions thereof.  So maybe we could start there and just help me understand some of the commonly used terms, so that I can get the gist of what he is trying to say.  Make sense?

Definition #1: “The Word/God/Jesus abiding in someone”:  So, the first phrase that I’d love to understand more is “Abiding in the Word, which is Jesus” or conversely “God’s word … abiding in us”.  I like the sound of those statements, and in fact, I’ve heard them a lot in my upbringing as a Mennonite, but it didn’t occur to me until just reading this article that I actually have no clue what it looks like to have [The Word/God/Jesus] abide in me or conversely for me to abide in [The Word/God/Jesus].  So thats needed definition #1.

 

 

Definition #2: “Faith”:  Secondly, faith needs definition.  In this article, the author uses the word faith quite frequently in such ideas such as (I’m going to paraphrase as indicated by the tilda) ~”faith is something that is necessary to please God”, ~”it is a state of being which you can either be in or not be in”, ~”it is an (I assume observable) outcome of abiding in the Word”, ~”it has laws, or rules associated with it”, ~”anyone can have more or less of it”.  Unfortunately the author does not go so far as to say exactly what some of the qualities of faith are.  So using inference I can roughly conclude that faith is 1) something you can have and possess 2) you can observe whether someone has it or not 3) having it is the same as operating within it. Perhaps there are other conclusions, I just may not be capable of drawing them yet without further definition.  But basically, #2 definition is exactly what is faith?  How can it be described?  If we want to attain, certainly we should be able to at least give a rough definition of what it is, because without knowing what we are striving for, how will we measure whether or not we have arrived there?

 

Definition #3: “Carnality”: The word carnal is used several times throughout this article.  When the author says carnal I typically think of big cats such as lions and tigers running around tearing the flesh off of antelopes or other such savannah ungulates.  However, I bet that this is not what the author is really trying to say, because most people don’t behave like that, nor are they tempted to.  So, I wonder what thoughts, what desires, and what actions can be classified as such “carnal” thoughts, desires, and actions.  After all, if we attempting to avoid carnality in total, again, lets define it so that we know we are avoiding it!  Likewise, it would also make sense to define carnalities opposite, which I assume from the usage in this article is “spirituality.”  So, for definition #3 (examples are welcomed), we could either define carnality or spirituality, but lets just call it carnality because thats the counterpart that the author references the most in the article.

 

So.  I think that once we define these three terms we’ll be in a much better place to discuss the point of the article.  Although I said earlier I don’t get the point, I think I can still sum it up if I go ahead and use the above terms without further definition.  I’ll try to do that now, and please correct me if I’m wrong.

The main point of the article:

Persons should live in Faith.  Faith is both a state of living and a thing can can be gained.  Faith is be gained by hearing the Word of God.   The Word of God is spiritual knowledge and it not carnal knowledge.   Whether or not a person is living in the state of faith can be verified to be true if they are abiding in the Word.  Likewise, living in faith is directly opposite to living in carnal knowledge and any person cannot exist doing both things at the same time.  Therefore at any given time all persons are either living according to spiritual knowledge or living according to carnal knowledge.  Those living in spiritual knowledge should continue to do so.  Those living in carnal knowledge should cease doing so and begin living in spiritual knowledge.

 

I think that after writing that out you can see why I think it is so important to define the differences between carnality and spirituality, to define living in Faith, and to define abiding in the Word. For without those definitions, if we are one of those unlucky folks who are living in carnality, we have a lot of inspiration after reading this article, but sadly no action items!  But I think there is hope!  If we can say what it means to live in carnality, then we can certainly identify the thoughts and actions that qualify, and stop doing them!  Likewise, if we can define spirituality, then we can being to execute those thoughts and actions in our lives and set about doing what the article instructs us is best to do, which is living in faith!

So lets begin!  Any ideas, examples, etc. of what the author means by those several words?

Your friend,

Pat


References:

Andrew Wommack entitle “Faith is Based in Knowledge.”

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